Sara Martin is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A biological sciences major, she is studying abroad in Sydney this semester through the custom program at the University of California, Davis.
This is Sara's last post as a CAPA blogger. She takes the time to reflect. Thanks so much for sharing your adventures with us this fall, Sara. We wish you all the best!
Taking the Leap
People say that traveling with others is a great way to know how compatible you are together. This program has taught me that spending time abroad is also one of the best ways to figure out how compatible your actions are with your aspirations. Removing yourself from friends, family, and routine aspects of your life forces you to hunt for comfort within yourself. This process showed me how to trust myself and enjoy my independence while allowing me to gain a better grasp of what I felt to be important aspects of everyday life. While others may already feel comfortable with their sense of autonomy, there is always more to learn about oneself and about other cultures.
Knowing What Matters
What I learned from my internship enabled me to make a few more adjustments and narrow down my future career focus. Studying social work taught me a lot about working with clients: the different workplace settings, the various levels and aspects of care, and the extensive skill set required for working with a large group. Although I doubt I will be working at a crisis refuge very much in the future, I am glad to have had this opportunity because it has showed me which aspects of care I am most passionate about. No matter how emotionally challenging it became to attempt to help my clients through tricky situations, the possibility of easing their trouble always made it worth the effort. I am sad but thankful for my clients who helped me realize what I want for my own future far more than I was able to aid them in setting up theirs.
Aggie Turned Adventurer
Before coming to Australia, I was a “Class-A” homebody. I often became overwhelmed around others and would rarely go out unless my best friend was there to act as a comfort blanket. Signing up for this program was the craziest and scariest decision I have ever made… but now I can easily say that it was also the best. I have met so many lovely people and the act of living and studying with the same group of people forced me to come out of my shell unlike anything before. It was like exposure therapy for my social anxiety. My Aggie (a.k.a. the UC Davis mascot) neighbors and I were always going to try something new and they always extended the invitation my way. I don’t know if I could have discovered the explorer inside of me if it wasn’t for my wonderful new friends. I can officially say that this has been the most adventurous time of my life and I really hope this side of me sticks.
On the Road Again
As my departure date closes in, I feel an intense urge to complete the last few remaining items on my wish list. It’s hard to believe that 10 weeks flew by so quickly; I wish I could have stayed months longer just to get a hint of all that Australia has to offer. I know it is going to be a difficult transition going home. Aside from the friends I made on this trip, no one back home is going to understand me when I inevitably invite them to “grab some Macca’s for takeaway”. While I can explain the new items in my lingo to my friends and family, they’re not going to start using them. When I tell them about the first time I met a wallaby, they won’t be able to relate. However, I know that when I’m missing Sydney, my friends from the program will be right there with me. If I were to give any words of advice to others preparing to disembark from their host country, it would be to make sure you have friends from that country and from the same program. Knowing that I have made strong connections during my short stay is the only reason I will be able to step foot on the plane home.